You can create a butterfly friendly spot in almost any garden with just a few containers. Butterflies have excellent eyesight and are attracted to bright, vibrant colours. All you need are a few pretty single flowered perennials & / or annuals in purple, yellow, orange, red or pink. They are also attracted to fragrances which they smell with their antennae and taste with their feet.
What you need:
- Approximately 5 containers for your flowers
- Peat free potting compost
- Crocks of clay or pieces of styrofoam
- Bucket of water
- Assorted plants
Choosing plants for butterflies
Most of the more popular flowering plants will attract butterflies but it is not just a bright colour a plant must have to be attractive to butterflies. They also need to be sources of nectar. These plants are all especially suitable:
- Joe Pye weed
- Black eyed Susan
As well as plant for your butterflies to feed on you will need plants for them to lay their eggs on – and some species are very very picky about where they leave their young. Luckily lots of species like milkweeds, thistles & nettles and you can leave these to grow in a ‘wild patch’ in your garden, out of sight if you like. Don’t worry the butterflies will find them just fine.
How to plant your garden:
- Take your plants out of the pots you bought them in and plunge them into your bucket of water until all of the bubbles stop.
- Get your containers ready by covering up the holes on the bottom with crocks or styrofoam
- Cover the crocks up with a layer of gravel – about 5 cm – this will make sure the pots can drain properly.
- Then three quarter fill the pots with potting compost.
- Place your plants in the container and fill in all around the root balls with extra compost, making sure there are no gaps.
- Arrange your pots in a sunny position with the tallest plants at the back.
- Make sure to water your butterfly garden and make notes of your visitors!
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